Over the offseason, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
The entire Team For the Ages roster will be unveiled at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50
Raiders C Jim Otto
Jim Otto was undersized even by pro football’s standards of the ‘60s and ‘70s at 6-2, 255 pounds, but he still managed to be a first-team AFL All Pro in every year of the league’s existence, while earning NFL All-Pro honors in the first two seasons after the merger and going to three straight Pro Bowls from 1970-72.
Otto’s career spanned the entire 10-year history of the AFL and 15 years in total from 1960-74, all with the Oakland Raiders.
There is no question that as a player Otto did it as well as any player to ever play his position.
They said it
''I played with injuries. There was no problem — I wanted to play football. That's what I was there for, that's what I was getting paid for. I wasn't getting paid to sit on the bench. If I sat on the bench, somebody was going to take my job. I've said that so many times. You have to get out there and just do it.”
Otto is often recognized as quite possibly the toughest individual to ever play the game.
How tough was he?
Over 15 seasons, Otto never missed a game with the Raiders, playing in 308 consecutively. He was one of only 20 players to play in all 10 AFL seasons, and one of only three to play in every game.
Did you know?
Though Otto was one of the NFL’s legendary iron men, the game took a tremendous toll on his body. As remarkable as this may seem, Otto has had over 70 surgeries — including 28 on his knee alone, nine while he was still playing — and he has endured multiple joint replacements.
Over one nine-year stretch, Otto suffered five different life-threatening infections in the joint of his artificial right knee.
By July of 2007, Otto was faced with an impossible choice: Either give up his right leg or almost certainly die. He chose to have his right leg amputated. In spite of all the pain, Otto insists he has no regrets.
Otto himself said his performance in Super Bowl II, where the Packers beat the Raiders, 33-14, but Oakland QB Daryle Lamonica actually outproduced SBII MVP Bart Starr, was his finest performance. It's a shame he never made it back.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player announcements